A remote-controlled reward system for training dogs to behave appropriately. Includes the main mechanical unit, 2 kibble disks, remote control, and a target with removable base. Comes with DVD and Illustrated Training Guide that outline a step-by-step 4 week program, plus tips, troubleshooting and practical advice from the inventor, veterinarian Dr. Sophia Yin.
Our Paw Rating 4 ½
My living room reminds me of a holiday morning post gift opening fiesta! Bits of paper, plastic bags, Styrofoam and mechanical pieces spread out on the floor while I peruse some baffling instruction booklet. Then I notice a big difference! These instructions are actually written in an easy to understand step-by-step format that even I can follow. There are even drawings that help clarify the instructions and training concepts. Before I know it, I have actually assembled the Manners Minder without any cursing or breaking of parts.
Oops, then I note that I am lacking a vital ingredient in the remote reward training recipe; 4 ‘D’ batteries. I am recovering from surgery and hubby is out of town so no battery procuring ideas come to mind and I have to postpone the maiden Manners Minders session. In the name of efficiency, I peruse further into the instruction guide and DVD.
The spiral bound instruction guide stands up on a nifty built-in stand for hands-free referral during training sessions. It is divided into 14 easy to understand chapters on such topics as How Fido Learns, Say Please by Sitting, and Rewarding Calm Behavior. The chapters are very thorough while staying easy to read and descriptive enough that even husbands can follow the directions. In fact, I had my non-dog training, short-attention span, “reading is only good for putting me to sleep” husband test the truthfulness of the preceding statement by attempting chapter 5: Game 2- Targeting in his own. I am proud to say he successfully managed the task and taught Mia to nose target with nary a complaint or drowsing off during the task.
The language and pictures in the instruction guide are all dog oriented which was a downer, even though I understand that dog people are the primary market for the Manners Minder. In the real world, the Manners Minder is currently being used in various endeavors such as squirrel cognition research, rabbit agility training, cat training, and at in at least one dog training class where it dispenses M & Ms to human children that sit quietly in their chair. Perhaps Premier could do an addendum of ideas for use with non-dog species.
The set-up was easy! I installed the disk that best fit the size of kibble or treat I use, added the food in the bin, set the remote channel and turned it on. I had a moment of excitement envisioning myself operate four different Manners Minders with one remote by simply switching channels. But alas, the channel switch on the remote is TINY, difficult to move and located under the battery cover. So I actually have no idea why there are different channels at all! On a positive note, the remote fit nicely in my hand and the two buttons were easy to use.
Finally, batteries have arrived and I start the training process with my test subjects: Mia and Zen (dogs), Jazzy, Daphne, and Marleene (cats). My grumpiness over the batteries fades instantly as I put the Manners Minder through its paces. Is there nowhere this genius invention won’t work? Through walls and closed doors? Check! In the car? Check! Me outside, cat inside? Check! Me inside, dog outside all the way across the yard? Check! I didn’t have any lead-lined walls to test and decided submerging the unit would be a really bad idea, but other than that, the Manners Minder performed admirably. In fact, I don’t know how I lived without one for so long!
The applications stretch to infinity because it removes the biggest obstacles we face when training beyond the basics: how to accurately reinforce desired behaviors either at a distance or without a human as part of the cue or reinforcement process. The unit can be set to operate with the remote or it can be set to automatically dispense according to a set schedule. Reinforce quiet in the crate, calm in the bedroom while the family entertains visitors, go to a location for food instead of fence fighting, new animal introductions on opposite sides of a barrier, quiet in the car, and so on.
Only one cat, very shy Marleene, was initially worried about the Manners Minder. I followed the instruction guide and she quickly decided the new magic treat producer wasn’t such a bad thing after all! The kibble bowl is low enough that the cats, even tripod Daphne, had no difficulty eating from it. Jazzy was immediately attracted to the target and seemed like she had a great game of nose target followed by run to the Manners Minder.
Cons: 4 D batteries and a second size for the remote, TINY channel switch inside the remote casing, written materials exclusively describe use with dogs and no other species, very excessive environmentally unfriendly shipping materials.
Pros: easy to set-up, operate and understand. Fantastic support materials! Many versatile and adjustable settings that provide almost unlimited uses in training for a variety of species!
Category: Featured Product